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1682, Ichinomiya-cho, Takayama-shi, Gifu, Japan


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The roofs of the minka (traditional guesthouses built to resemble praying hands) may be covered in lichen, some of the walls may be made of pressed earth, and the floors and ceilings may have uncut tree trunks running straight through them, but don’t get the wrong idea; though the illusion of sleeping in the woods is persuasive, the comforts of Wanosato are as civilized as they come. This is the natural world as we wish it could be: all the lush greens, the fresh mountain air, a gurgling river, the solitude and the tranquility, none of that pesky dirt to smudge up the composition. Unless, that is, we count the timbers rendered a gleaming obsidian black by years of smoke from the communal hearth at the center of the ryokan.

Even the ride in feels a bit magical. Arriving by train, you ascend through the mountains to the town of Takayama, a settlement that took shape in the 16th century and remained, for many years, wonderfully isolated due to its high elevation and distance from Japan’s population centers. (It’s still four and a half hours by train from Tokyo, three and a half from Osaka.) That feeling is only amplified at the 160-year-old ryokan itself, folded as it is into the forest well outside of town. It almost feels as if that stunning wooden table lacquered itself in order to glow just so under those candle-lit lamps, or like the geniuses behind this ryokan simply discovered the cove-like baths one day, all the natural woods and stones and steaming pools in just the right places.

How to get there:

JR Takayama Station is 2 hours and 20 minutes from Nagoya. *A complimentary shuttle bus is available at the following times: 14:20, 15:20, 16:20 and 17:20. Approximate travel time to Wanosato: 20 minutes. *Advance reservation is required.

Please contact for assistance with transfers.

  • 8 Rooms
  • Style: Traditional Elegance
  • Atmosphere: Secluded
  • Wanosato
  • 1682, Ichinomiya-cho, Takayama-shi
  • Gifu, Japan

Hotel amenities and services

  • Central air conditioning
  • Free parking
  • Free wi-fi
  • Garden
  • Jacuzzi
  • Multi-lingual staff
  • Spa
  • Wood burning fireplace

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